Chesterfield seeks public input on marijuana bylaw

  • Marijuana plants GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/28/2021 10:38:51 AM

CHESTERFIELD – The Planning Board is circulating a town survey to ascertain what residents are interested in seeing in a future marijuana bylaw.

Town Administrator Brenda Lessard said the town has no cannabis bylaw and because the Planning Board doesn’t know what direction to take, it released the survey, which is in paper and digital form.

The survey can be taken by any Chesterfield resident 21 and older, and can be found online at https://bit.ly/3BlYU7i. It can also be picked up at Town Hall and was mailed to all households.

“It took no time to fill it out,” Select Board Chairman Roger Fuller said.

Lessard said interest in drafting a cannabis bylaw came after the marijuana company Ember Gardens sought to locate a marijuana growing facility on Willcutt Road. The company abandoned the project after significant pushback at a public meeting.

Fuller said that the Select Board is not moving forward with marijuana proposals until a bylaw is in place.

“We asked the Planning Board to take it on,” he said.

He also said that he hopes the survey shines a light on what people think and that any bylaw drafted would be voted on by Town Meeting. The survey is available to fill out through Nov. 5. Planning Board Member CJ Lammers said board is looking forward to seeing the results of the survey.

In a letter accompanying the survey, Planning Board Chair Charles “Skip” Valencik said that the results will be made public after its completion and that those interested in serving on a committee to draft the bylaw should email the board at PlanningBoard@townofchesterfield.com, or drop off a letter of interest at the town offices.

Town resident Matt Barron said a cannabis bylaw is “long overdue.” He said people value living in a rural community and that believes Ember Gardens approached Chesterfield because the town didn’t have a bylaw in place.

Barron also said that he felt the survey is well-designed, and if a grow facility was to come in, he’d favor the smallest possible size.

Fuller said that while the Select Board is interested in businesses moving to town, the board wants this to happen in a manner that pleases the population.

Lessard said that since Ember Gardens’ proposal, two other interested parties have approached the town about setting up grow facilities in Chesterfield , but that the Select Board is interested in seeing what shape the new bylaw takes before acting.

One of the parties that’s approached the town is Farm Bug Co-op, a worker-owned marijuana co-op that is interested in putting a facility in Chesterfield.

“We want the town to be comfortable,” said Eric Schwartz, a founding member of the co-op, when asked about the survey.

Schwartz said the co-op is interested in putting in a greenhouse facility with minimal electrical lighting in Chesterfield, which would start out employing four to five people.

He also said the co-op is not interested in locating a big facility in Chesterfield, or anywhere for that matter, and that its focus is on craft marijuana production.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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